What my 20s and 30s taught me was that loaning money was a huge mistake. I expected people to think as I did. I believed every sob story and excuse and overextended myself to people because I cared! When it was time to pay me back, those same people never cared about me.

Now my answer is simply “No.” With NO explanation behind it! (Thank you, Jacelyn, you taught me the power of No and to stop feeling bad.) I have this lifelong friend whose name is Jacelyn and she is fiery! Afro-Latina with a heart of gold and the mouth of a sword! I love her to pieces. One day she said, “Fuck them C.J. Think about it, they don’t give a fuck about you and if you needed some shit from them, would they do it for you?” Those words have rung in my ears for years. I don’t think she even understands that was a major turning point for me and some of the best advice I have ever been given because she was soooo right! I had a large amount of people around, family included, as long as I was useful to them in some way. Once I was NO longer an asset or useful, I stopped hearing from them completely, even cut off….but Jacelyn saw what I didn’t and we still rocking what she taught me.

Don’t go into details about your finances, and don’t make long excuses justifying your decision.  It’s really none of their business. Just be direct and keep it simple. If you feel the need to be extra sympathetic and nice. Try the following:

  • “I’m not really in a position to lend you money.”
  • “I really don’t feel comfortable doing that.”
  • “I’m sorry, but no.”
  • “That’s really not feasible for me.”

These are direct statements that aren’t rude, but don’t provide an opening for future requests down the line.  When asked to expand, simply repeat one of the phrases.  Remember: It’s your money.

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